We’re halfway through this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and the tournament is fascinatingly poised. Let us dive into the 2023 Arnold Palmer Round 1 and 2 highlights, and our betting preview for Round 3.
Four of the world’s top ten currently find themselves within five strokes of the lead held by Kurt Kitayama. With a whole host of top players placed within firing distance, everything is set for a truly fantastic weekend of golf.
For the second time this year, Kurt Kitayama heads into the third round of a PGA tournament sitting at the top of the tree.
Now ranked 48th in the world, Kitayama is a name we are beginning to get accustomed to seeing at the top of the leaderboard. Yet to win on the PGA Tour, Kitayama has finished as a runner up on four separate occasions and will be hoping that this will be the weekend when he finally makes his breakthrough.
Friday saw cold and blustery weather which made scoring incredibly difficult. Kitayama has shown in the past he has a liking for breezy and difficult conditions and only dropped one shot yesterday on his way to a solid 68. Despite not winning yet on Tour, Kitayama has a game that belongs with the very best in the game and someone is going to have to play well to overhaul him.
Kitayama’s nearest challenger is Jordan Spieth who will start today two strokes behind his American compatriot. A former Open Champion, it’s no surprise to see that Spieth is right up there with the leaders. A bogey on his final hole yesterday would have seen him closer to the lead, but he will aim to put that disappointment behind him and challenge today.
Some of the world’s best find themselves right in contention. Xander Schauffelle, Justin Thomas and Matt Fitzpatrick will all start within four strokes of the lead, with Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy finding themselves with a bit more work to do, starting the third round five, six and seven shots back respectively.
With many of the world’s best in the reckoning for this year’s Arnold Palmer, it isn’t a surprise to see that there is value everywhere you look.
Current favorite for the title is Xander Schauffelle. The Californian has had a mixed start to the year and had to withdraw from the first few events of 2023 with an injured back. Those problems seem behind him, and Schauffelle has swung the club well all week. He has work to do starting three shots behind but he will be confident of another successful day.
Jordan Spieth comes next in the betting with the American currently two strokes off the lead. It’s been almost a year since Spieth last tasted success on Tour, and he hopes to end that run this weekend.
Rounding out the top three in the betting is current leader Kurt Kitayama. Despite not yet winning on Tour, Kitayama knows what it takes to contend and lead a tournament, In his four runner up appearances he has lost to the likes of Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffelle and Rory McIlroy. Kitayama has spoken like a man who knows his time is near and he could be the obvious value angle of the day.
Despite sitting five and six shots back, Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm can’t be discounted. Both players have arguably been the best two players of the year and both will expect to play well today in order to be in the mix tomorrow.
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